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Are you the office martyr?

Updated: Nov 4, 2022

Q: I have always thought of myself as being a team player & hard worker. Recently I overheard someone call me a “martyr” at work and they find me difficult to work with. I have been working long hours and been pretty stressed lately but what does that even mean?

Being a hard worker shows your commitment to your job and company, which is a good thing! Sometimes, though, you can lose perspective and move from being a “hard worker” over to “martyrdom.” You may find yourself: saying yes to more then you can handle, constantly complaining you have no time, not delegating, refusing help, feeling resentful, stressed and unappreciated. If this describes you, then you may have crossed over to the dark side and become the “office martyr”. This is the place where everyone suffers, including you.

The critical question you need to ask yourself is: what is driving this behavior?

Often this can stem from a couple of areas: placing too much importance on work for your overall happiness and/or a strong need for acceptance & acknowledgement that is not being met.

Here are some tips on how to get back on the right path:

  • Establish boundaries between work and home life; develop your outside interests to gain more balance!

  • Seek support from your boss to set priorities; ask for more positive feedback.

  • Watch your negative self-talk; remember, whatever you focus on, you get more of – make it positive.

  • Stop complaining to your coworkers; approach conversations with a positive outlook.

Though being called a “martyr” probably didn’t feel good, it’s a great opportunity to take a step back and examine your situation. By making some thoughtful adjustments, you can get back on track to being that hardworking team player you naturally are.

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